Should there be more consistency regarding paying on board trains?

Chrisgr31

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Moderator note: Split from https://www.railforums.co.uk/threads/failed-to-pay-fare.211352/


Unlikely

As far as the railway is concerned, the OP passed up an opportunity to pay. It is black and white. He did not queue at the ticket office, purchase a ticket and get the next train - which he could have done
The problem in my mind is that its not black and white. The OP says he travels once a fortnight or so and on previous trips he has seen other passengers buy a ticket on a train. He was late so he thought he would buy a ticket on the train, but instead was told he couldn't, his details were taken and he is now waiting in fear of a Court appearance.

There needs to be a consistency of approach, you can either buy a ticket onboard or you can't. It shouldnt matter what member of staff you come across, they should all either offer to sell a ticket or all take details for follow up.
 
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Celest

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The problem in my mind is that its not black and white. The OP says he travels once a fortnight or so and on previous trips he has seen other passengers buy a ticket on a train. He was late so he thought he would buy a ticket on the train, but instead was told he couldn't, his details were taken and he is now waiting in fear of a Court appearance.

There needs to be a consistency of approach, you can either buy a ticket onboard or you can't. It shouldnt matter what member of staff you come across, they should all either offer to sell a ticket or all take details for follow up.
I've always seen people buying tickets on the train and the funny thing is, is that I literally saw someone buy a ticket on THAT SAME TRAIN a couple of weeks back.
 

island

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The problem in my mind is that its not black and white. The OP says he travels once a fortnight or so and on previous trips he has seen other passengers buy a ticket on a train. He was late so he thought he would buy a ticket on the train, but instead was told he couldn't, his details were taken and he is now waiting in fear of a Court appearance.

There needs to be a consistency of approach, you can either buy a ticket onboard or you can't. It shouldnt matter what member of staff you come across, they should all either offer to sell a ticket or all take details for follow up.
Aside from the possibility that some of the previous occasions cited may well have been when ticketing facilities were not available, a “consistency of approach” would just result in everyone being reported. Be careful what you wish for.
 

Chrisgr31

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a “consistency of approach” would just result in everyone being reported. Be careful what you wish for.

Well at least that is fair and understandable. The current system where innocent people just doing what they have seen others doing get the worry and cost of an investigation is plainly unfair.
 

221129

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Well at least that is fair and understandable. The current system where innocent people just doing what they have seen others doing get the worry and cost of an investigation is plainly unfair.
So if you got pulled for speeding and used the excuse but other people do it all the time, how do you think that will go down with the Police or the Magistrates...

innocent people
If they are innocent of an offence then there is no problem as they wont be convicted.

That line is notorious for fare evasion. So XC are focussing Revenue Protection staff on it. They have even recently recruited specifically to cover that line more. As previous posters have said. Be careful what you wish for.
 

Chrisgr31

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I would suggest the comparison relating to speeding actually proves my point. Drivers may speed but if they get caught they are most likely to get caught by camera, and in those cases the process is almost automated, and they will receive a speed awareness course at certain speeds or a Court appearance at others.

I personally welcome additional Revenue Protection staff and back in pre-lockdown days it used to irritate me that ticket checks were irregular, infrequent etc, and that those without tickets weren't told they should have bought one before boarding the train. I have no reason to fear correct enforcement of the rules and now would those innocently caught up in the current system, as long as the change in policy was advertised properly.
 

221129

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I would suggest the comparison relating to speeding actually proves my point. Drivers may speed but if they get caught they are most likely to get caught by camera, and in those cases the process is almost automated, and they will receive a speed awareness course at certain speeds or a Court appearance at others.

I personally welcome additional Revenue Protection staff and back in pre-lockdown days it used to irritate me that ticket checks were irregular, infrequent etc, and that those without tickets weren't told they should have bought one before boarding the train. I have no reason to fear correct enforcement of the rules and now would those innocently caught up in the current system, as long as the change in policy was advertised properly.
So you're asking for those breaking the law to be told to stop or face the consequences?
 

island

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Well at least that is fair and understandable. The current system where innocent people just doing what they have seen others doing get the worry and cost of an investigation is plainly unfair.
If someone boards a train without a ticket at a station with ticketing facilities, they are not innocent.
 

WesternLancer

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Well at least that is fair and understandable. The current system where innocent people just doing what they have seen others doing get the worry and cost of an investigation is plainly unfair.
You are correct of course but the problem is - and this is the point I am making ref that route / your journey:

You can get on train at Hinckley in eves or Saturday afternoon etc as I did last year (EMR run station, ticket office closed at that time, no ticket machine - but poster on station saying 'buy a ticket before you travel' - I pressed help point button to ask how I bought one - I do not have a smart phone for example, it rang and rang and it timed out before anyone answered it but that's another matter I guess...) - so I would have been able to buy a ticket from guard*

or

You can get on the very same train at Nuneaton where there are ticket purchasing facilities and thus be penalised for not having a ticket when guard comes round and they can legitimately refuse to sell you a ticket.

*guard never came round to my seat, train busy, barrier line open at Leicester and I could have walked off without paying, I had to actively go to ticket office to ask to buy a ticket from my originating point.

So if "fare evasion is notorious on the line" as @221129 explains, maybe the line should also be "notorious for not being able to easily buy a ticket, or be asked to do so on entry or exit from a station":s

Down here in London, we are constantly told to buy a ticket BEFORE boarding the train; e.g. one such announcement from a TOC I travel on is "You must buy a ticket before you board one of our trains"

Doesn't this happen 'oop north???
Not consistently as different policies operate on different routes across the former Regional Railways network in the north and midlands (and maybe south west and wales too) plus longstanding 'pay train' custom and practice dating back to the 1970s means that people often expect to be able to buy on board - all of this helps cause confusion really. Practices largely eliminated from ex NSE / London area years ago if it ever happened on routes concerned in any case. I think discussed on another thread a while back.
 

_toommm_

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Down here in London, we are constantly told to buy a ticket BEFORE boarding the train; e.g. one such announcement from a TOC I travel on is "You must buy a ticket before you board one of our trains"

Doesn't this happen 'oop north???

It was a lot more commonplace to buy on the train, especially on Northern. It’s only in the past few years that they’re really cranked down on not allowing discounts on board. The same rules as down South have always applied, but there was a lot more leniency up north.
 

221129

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You can get on the very same train at Nuneaton where there are ticket purchasing facilities and thus be penalised for not having a ticket when guard comes round and they can legitimately refuse to sell you a ticket.
I'm struggling to work out what your point is? One scenario it is permitted and one it isn't. Ignorance of the law is not a defence. Just because you are used to getting away with committing a criminal offence cannot be used as an excuse or be seen as being unfair when you are eventually caught.
 

WesternLancer

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I'm struggling to work out what your point is? One scenario it is permitted and one it isn't. Ignorance of the law is not a defence. Just because you are used to getting away with committing a criminal offence cannot be used as an excuse or be seen as being unfair when you are eventually caught.
My point is that it is confusing for customers, esp those that may not use the railway often, study posters on stations, read relatively boring sections of railways notices etc. No announcements on trains to tell people that if you got on at x you can pay on board, but if you got on at Y you need a valid ticket before you board (and I presume that is because TOCs know how confusing such an announcement would be...). I didn't for example, see a clear poster at Hinckley station advising you that you are able to pay on board if you join the train at that station when the ticket office is closed. Perhaps XC have arranged with EMR to display such a notice.

Whilst in the eyes of the law and rules I fully accept your point, but that is not to say that is is understandable that passengers with no intention of ticket fraud get confused, caught out as they would see it, and once that happens they are not then allowed to pay the fare alone, they must almost always pay an associated admin fee that they will see as a penalty / fine / punishment etc - even if it is none of those things in strict terms.
 

6Gman

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Of course if you cut it too fine to buy a ticket before boarding but then actively seek out the guard to offer payment a Regulation of Railways Act prosecution would be very, very unlikely to succeed and - in my experience - you will generally be sold a ticket.
 

b0b

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There needs to be a consistency of approach, you can either buy a ticket onboard or you can't. It shouldnt matter what member of staff you come across, they should all either offer to sell a ticket or all take details for follow up.
I've always believed that if you're sold a ticket on board, you should also be given a warning card that warns you that you should have bought prior to boarding the train every time and being sold a ticket on board is an exception in this single instance only.
 

WesternLancer

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I've always believed that if you're sold a ticket on board, you should also be given a warning card that warns you that you should have bought prior to boarding the train every time and being sold a ticket on board is an exception in this single instance only.
A good idea, and simple to achieve - could be generated by the on board staff ticket issuing machine. Tho of course not a runner for instances of tickets from stations where you can legitimately buy on board - which is some of the stations on the route the OP was on...
 

CrispyUK

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Going back 15 years or so, I often ended up in arguments with Central Trains guards on the first trains from Hinckley in a morning, refusing to sell me a discounted ticket because I should’ve purchased from the ticket office. Back then, the first trains in each direction were usually a 06:29/06:31 departure, the ticket office opened at 06:40, which never made sense to me!

I see the ticket office still opens at 06:40 now, with the first train towards Nuneaton departing at 06:38.
 

skyhigh

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I've always believed that if you're sold a ticket on board, you should also be given a warning card that warns you that you should have bought prior to boarding the train every time and being sold a ticket on board is an exception in this single instance only.

A good idea, and simple to achieve - could be generated by the on board staff ticket issuing machine. Tho of course not a runner for instances of tickets from stations where you can legitimately buy on board - which is some of the stations on the route the OP was on...

All our onboard ticket roll already has a penalty fare warning on the back, printed in red, which states:

"If travelling from a penalty fare station, on a penalty fare train, you must buy your ticket before you board the train where facilities are available. If an authorised penalty fare collector had been checking tickets you may have been charged a penalty fare. You must buy a valid ticket before boarding a train, if ticket issuing facilities are available."
 

WesternLancer

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All our onboard ticket roll already has a penalty fare warning on the back, printed in red, which states:

"If travelling from a penalty fare station, on a penalty fare train, you must buy your ticket before you board the train where facilities are available. If an authorised penalty fare collector had been checking tickets you may have been charged a penalty fare. You must buy a valid ticket before boarding a train, if ticket issuing facilities are available."
Thanks - which TOC is that, Northern?
 

mikeg

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Northern I believe issue tickets like that and I also got a ticket issued with said notice at Carlton in 2016 by EMT. It should be noted at least back then Carlton had no ticketing facilities.
The really strange thing is Grand Central have at points used that ticket stock.
 

Dave1954

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Its happen to me in the pass not having time to buy ticket , I go out on platform meet the train and look to see where the guard is going to drop out to to wave the train off . Then i ask to sell me a fair , easy peasey 8-)
 

kristiang85

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I've always believed that if you're sold a ticket on board, you should also be given a warning card that warns you that you should have bought prior to boarding the train every time and being sold a ticket on board is an exception in this single instance only.

This could be a good idea in the future - if a national smartcard system comes in on the railway (hah!!), it could be electronically recorded that the passenger was warned once, and it would flag if they did it again. So mitigation of 'I didn't know' would not be valid. Then again, it could still be done on current routes with smartcards.
 

[.n]

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Going back 15 years or so, I often ended up in arguments with Central Trains guards on the first trains from Hinckley in a morning, refusing to sell me a discounted ticket because I should’ve purchased from the ticket office. Back then, the first trains in each direction were usually a 06:29/06:31 departure, the ticket office opened at 06:40, which never made sense to me!

I see the ticket office still opens at 06:40 now, with the first train towards Nuneaton departing at 06:38.


A long time ago I used to travel regularly from Fratton (or sometimes & SouthSea/Harbour) on a 04.30ish train, most of the time absolutely no hassle to buy the ticket I required (which to be slightly fair was a strange one, taking advantage of an easement) from the guard. It was unsurprisingly a very quiet train at the start of the journey, so this was usually by Hilsea/Bedhampton), and then a settle down for the journey as it got busier further up the line. However cue every now and then a random guard accusing me of fare dodging by not having a ticket!!! Erm... station facilities not open, pertis machine permanently out of action/broken/might even have been removed. Usually they would back down down, especially when I could prove I was a regular commuter with other tickets in my possession. Strangely on the odd occasion I would get into a strange impasse, where they wouldn't sell me the requested ticket, which would on occasion mean free travel/more grief on my second train on the journey (different TOC), explaining what ticket I needed and amazement that I had travelled so far without a ticket. If I ever got to the end of the journey it was an unstaffed station, so free travel!! Though due to the vagaries of the system only resulted in about 20p saving, as I still needed to pay for the journey back.
 

swt_passenger

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I've always believed that if you're sold a ticket on board, you should also be given a warning card that warns you that you should have bought prior to boarding the train every time and being sold a ticket on board is an exception in this single instance only.
Under the previous penalty fare regime, (ie before the last major rules rewrite), I think that there was an explicit requirement for ticket stock used on trains to have a warning on the back that read broadly as you suggest.
 

Bletchleyite

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There needs to be a consistency of approach, you can either buy a ticket onboard or you can't. It shouldnt matter what member of staff you come across,
they should all either offer to sell a ticket or all take details for follow up.

I completely agree. A given train should either be a Penalty Fares train or not, and that should be shown in the timetable (with a recognisable logo) and on the PIS in the manner of how Switzerland used to do it before going fully PF.

If the train is not a Penalty Fares train, purchase on board should be provided for, perhaps with a decriminalised additional fee for doing so from stations where there are facilities, e.g. it was CHF10 (in real terms about a fiver) on SBB before they went fully PF.

PFs should apply to all cases of ticketless travel on a PF train unless pursuing a fraud/falsification type conviction (fake tickets, dumbbelling etc, but not simple short faring), and the relevant Byelaw should be repealed, and RoRA changed to apply only to those "wilful fraud" cases.
 

35B

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I completely agree. A given train should either be a Penalty Fares train or not, and that should be shown in the timetable (with a recognisable logo) and on the PIS in the manner of how Switzerland used to do it before going fully PF.

If the train is not a Penalty Fares train, purchase on board should be provided for, perhaps with a decriminalised additional fee for doing so from stations where there are facilities, e.g. it was CHF10 (in real terms about a fiver) on SBB before they went fully PF.

PFs should apply to all cases of ticketless travel on a PF train unless pursuing a fraud/falsification type conviction (fake tickets, dumbbelling etc, but not simple short faring), and the relevant Byelaw should be repealed, and RoRA changed to apply only to those "wilful fraud" cases.
And where a train that is reasonably not PF (say points NW of Skipton) comes into an area that has PFs?
 

Djgr

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Perhaps it was not such a good idea that the railway historically branded many of these services as Paytrains.
 

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